When it comes to speaking and eating, your teeth get all the recognition. However, your jaw joint (or TMJ) plays a vital role in these oral functions too. Your TMJ is a special joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It allows you to open and close your mouth, which means you need a well-functioning TMJ to speak, yawn and eat. Unfortunately, the TMJ is also subject to irritation and malfunction, which typically presents itself as jaw pain.
Causes of Jaw Pain
Considering how much we use our jaw throughout the day, jaw pain can be very disruptive. In fact, moderate to severe jaw pain can keep you from eating comfortably and may even cause radiating pain in the head, ears, face and neck. However, not all jaw pain is rooted in TMJ disorder. Here are some potential causes of jaw pain so that you can better determine if your TMJ is to blame:
- Cluster headaches
- Tooth pain
- Nerve damage
- Heart attack
- TMJ disorder
TMJ Disorder Causes and Symptoms
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder can be considered the most common cause of jaw pain. Since your TMJ is surrounded by a series of ligaments, nerves and muscles that all work together to provide a functioning jaw joint. Unfortunately, there are several factors that can cause irritation, strain and malfunction to the TMJ, including a bad bite, clenching or grinding of the teeth and trauma to the jaw.
When it is a TMJ disorder that is producing your jaw pain, you may also have the following associated symptoms:
- Popping and clicking sound opening and closing the mouth
- Jaw stiffness or locking
- Facial swelling or tenderness around jaw joint
- Ear pain or ringing
- Chronic tension headaches or migraines
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back
A Dentist Who Can Relieve Your Jaw Pain
At Dental Care Acworth, we are qualified to treat all types of jaw symptoms, including those that involve discomfort caused by TMJ disorder. Our office can diagnose your jaw pain and recommend an effective treatment based on the cause of your symptoms. This can range from correcting a bad bite with orthodontics to providing a custom mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding while you sleep. Don’t ignore your jaw discomfort, as the irritation and pain may only get worse without professional diagnosis and treatment. Call our Acworth dental experts today to schedule your consult.